South Asia

 
 

Facebook: A coercive political actor?

Marco D’Alessandro

Society and culture | South Asia

 

If Facebook could stack an election against the likes of Pauline Hanson or Donald Trump, would you want it to? Would you want it to quash the threat of global terror by employing algorithms to censor content which demonstrates partiality to flagged organisations or individuals?

Facebook may seem to be an innocuous and convenient communication platform, however it has become apparent that Facebook has the means to transform these questions into reality. In the majority of situations the only mechanism capable of constraining Facebook is corporate morality.

5 minute read

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Bhutan, body counts and beauty

Harrison Rule

Society and culture | Asia

 

In elegant white cursive, the words “mountains, monasteries and magic” accompany an image of a picturesque Buddhist temple delicately balanced on the edge of a rugged cliff face.

This is the scene chosen by travel guide giant Lonely Planet to encapsulate what the Himalayan hermit kingdom of Bhutan has to offer visitors, as one of the guide’s “Top experiences in Asia.”

Though the company behind the iconic blue spine travel guides has always been criticised for homogenising and euphemising myriad cultures and societies, Lonely Planet’s most recent glossy depiction of Bhutan seems more fitting for a clichéd corporate motivational poster hanging above the water cooler in a dreary office break room.

In reality, the land of the Thunder Dragon is definitely no Shambhala.

3 minute read

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India’s internal security crisis of sexual violence

Suchara Fernando

Society and culture | South Asia

 

According to John Baylis, security can be defined as freedom from threats to core values for both groups and individuals. Thereby, internal security can be defined as protecting civilians within sovereign borders from threats. A culture of rape and sexual violence is thus an internal security issue because it threatens the freedom and safety of India’s female population. Since the 2012 Delhi Gang Rape and the sensationalist response of the media, the world’s attention has turned to India’s issues of sexual violence. The existing laws have been amended with stricter effect, and recently, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a number of issues that affected women, in his first Independence Day speech. One of these issues was rape.

9 minute read

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